Moyer's body suddenly remembers it's 47

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moyer small.jpgIf Jamie Moyer did indeed make a deal with the devil, it appears that ol’ Beelzebub has decided it’s time to cash in.

Moyer, who has had an amazing ability to avoid major health issues over the course of his 23-year career – a career spent baffling hitters with an array of marshmallow fastballs, Bugs Bunny breaking balls and invisible changeups  – has had a hellish time over the last three months.

Enter, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:

Moyer, 47, has been in the hospital three times since he suffered a sports hernia injury in September, and he has a fourth trip coming up. He had an initial surgery Oct. 2, but returned to the hospital Oct. 7 with a blood infection. He seemed to be making progress until he had to go back to the hospital Nov. 24 after complaining of recurring symptoms. During that stay, he had a second surgery, on Nov. 27, after tests showed a small collection of infected blood.

Moyer continues to wear a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) to fight the infection, and next month has to go in for surgery to repair a meniscus on his right knee.
Despite all of this, Moyer claims he’ll be ready for the start of spring training in mid-February.

Optimistic as the ol’ lefty is, this is the exact reason I was puzzled that the Phillies gave him a two-year contract entering the 2009 season. No matter how much of a freak of nature he might be, he will still be nearly 48 when his contract expires. Anyone remember how suddenly and viciously Nolan Ryan’s career ended? Let’s hope Moyer doesn’t suffer the same fate.

“I was telling my wife Karen that I’ve been playing 20-plus years and never had a surgery,” he said. “So I guess I’m making up for it this offseason. I’ve been pretty blessed to stay away from that kind of stuff. I guess it was my time.”

Blessed, perhaps. Or maybe his body finally woke up and realized it was 47.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.